So far, so good for my weekly Love/Hate article. Sadly enough, the performances from my list of players that I hate to have in my starting lineups each week is more spot on than the players I show love to each week. So, I’m taking that into consideration as I approach my list for Week 3 in order to improve my picks and your lineup decisions.
Fantasy football managers should be on notice when it comes to deciding to plug said players in their lineup each week. Sometimes you don’t have a choice as options on your roster become scarce. If you do have options, though, I believe what I have to say about these players that I love and hate will help put you in a position to win your week.
Players I Love and Hate in Week 3 of the 2022 Season
Love: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
I’m leading the Week 3 love discussion with Kirk Cousins. Especially after an abysmal Monday Night Football performance in Week 2, I think it’s important for fantasy football managers to remember that this is a week-to-week game. Sometimes it’s best to put poor performances in the rearview mirror and plow right ahead.
Cousins should be able to shake off yet another awful prime-time game and return home ready to rock this Sunday. Let’s not forget, though quiet in Week 2, what Cousins is working with on offense. Justin Jefferson, Adam Theilen, K.J. Osborn, Irv Smith Jr., and Dalvin Cook are one of the best offensive units in the league.
The key here, though, is the matchup. Detroit is allowing the fifth-most (580) total passing yards to opposing quarterbacks so far this season. Both Jalen Hurts and Carson Wentz scored at least 24.0 fantasy points against the Lions. Each finished inside the top-five amongst quarterbacks in Weeks 1 and 2 respectively. Both of those games were in Detroit, too.
The first-overall pick in the 2022 Draft, Aidan Hutchinson, is also highly questionable to play in Week 3 with a thigh injury. Kirk Cousins will likely have a cleaner pocket than most who face the Lions this season as a result. Following an embarrassing Week 2 loss, I see no reason for Cousins and the Vikings to hold back in front of a home crowd this week. I also see no reason not to love starting Cousins in your fantasy football lineups where you can.
Some Extra Love:
Jared Goff is facing off against Kirk Cousins and the Vikings. That game, again, is in a dome in Minnesota. The Vikings are an approximate six-point favorite against the Lions on Sunday. A negative game-script should work in Goff’s favor for fantasy as he’ll be playing catchup most of the day. He has great weapons and is throwing behind a great offensive line. I prefer Goff to other popular streamers, particularly those at home, like Carson Wentz v. Eagles or Joe Flacco v. Bengals.
Hate: Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Tom Brady and the Buccaneers are hosting Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in Week 3. I’m telling you to avoid these two quarterbacks if at all possible for fantasy football. It seems silly to suggest benching these two legends, but I hate their opportunity to finish inside the top-10 at the position this week.
The elephant in the room here is the plethora of injuries and other issues for both Brady and Rodgers’ pass catchers. First and foremost, Mike Evans is suspended due to his participation in a Week 2 on the field fight. In addition to Evans’ absence, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones are in serious jeopardy of missing Week 3 due to injury. For the Packers, Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb, and Christian Watson (R) all missed practice for the majority of this week, as well.
It’s more likely than not that each team’s backfield are the players to play this week in fantasy football. Leonard Fournette should see a ton of volume against the Packers while Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon should generate most of their success on Sunday as pass catchers.
Rodgers and Brady both lack the rushing upside necessary to support a typically high ceiling for a fantasy quarterback. Instead, they often rack up points with a lot of yards and multiple passing scores. I’m not expecting much from either with the red flags surrounding the personnel available as of now for this game. I hate the idea of having to start either, but if I had to pick one, it’s Rodgers.
Love: Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
Prior to Week 3 kicking off, Miles Sanders sits at seventh on the rushing yards leader list so far for the 2022 season. Mind you, that’s with his quarterback, Jalen Hurts, sliding in at 10th on the list, as well. Even with a run-heavy quarterback, Sanders is averaging 17 touches per game in the form of carries and targets.
With said 17 touches, Sanders is averaging 15.1 PPR points per game which is 13th on a points-per-game basis. Additionally, his Week 3 opponent, the Washington Commanders, are allowing the third-most points to running backs. That’s all while allowing just one rushing touchdown through two weeks of the season.
Based on where you drafted Sanders, finding a spot for him in your starting lineup may be difficult ahead of other running backs. He continues to earn his place, though and should earn it moving forward after a big day in Washington.
Some Extra Love:
Dameon Pierce is my bold prediction player of the week. I originally circled Week 4 and 5 on Pierce’s schedule as potential breakout games against the Chargers or Jaguars. However, I love Pierce’s chances at 100 yards and a touchdown in Week 3. Pierce and the Texans head to Chicago to face the Bears who are dead last in plays per game. Their inefficiency on that side of the ball lends to a heavy dose of opportunities for the opposing team’s offense. Given that Pierce is the only Texan running back to carry the ball in Week 2, I love his matchup and expected volume in this one.
Hate: Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills taking on the Dolphins in Miami is one of the games I am looking forward to the most in Week 3. The over/under is hovering around 53 points and, based on the Bills notoriety and the Dolphins’ shootout with the Ravens in Week 2, I imagine everyone is expecting the over to hit. Unfortunately, I don’t think Devin Singletary will have a significant impact in this game so I would hate to have him in my starting lineup this week, even if he is on the Bills.
In a blowout Week 2 win, Singletary carried the ball just six times. He caught two of his three targets for 21 total yards, as well. With Stefon Diggs leading the way of other very talented pass catchers in Buffalo, and Josh Allen’s ability to throw the ball, I don’t expect an established run game in Buffalo’s fame plans to beat the Dolphins. Also, Miami’s defense has allowed just 118 total yards to all running backs in two games of the 2022 season. It’s hard to imagine sitting any Bills in fantasy football, but Singletary is one I’m leaving on my bench if I have other options.
Love: Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
Tyler Lockett is often thought of as a “boom or bust” type fantasy football player. I get it. There are weeks Lockett is known for dropping 50 or more points while in others he’s lucky to score 10. So, I understand the skepticism heading into Week 3 after his 19.7 points from Week 2 compared to the 5.8 points he had in Week 1.
I love Lockett for a few reasons this week. He’s playing at home and the travel to and from San Francisco from Week 2 is not the typical burden of an away game. The Atlanta Falcons are coming to town averaging 26.5 points per game. That means this one could also surprise people with a higher score than most expect.
Though Seattle is barely last in the league is plays per game, Lockett is still leading the Seahawks in targets with 15. Lockett also ran a route on 100% of Geno Smith’s dropbacks in Week 2. His role and usage, albeit on a slower, less efficient offense than he’s used to, is still worth considering starting. Especially in Week 3, against the Falcons defense which is tied for first in touchdowns allowed to wide receivers and ranks third in points allowed to the position, I love plugging Lockett into my lineups and think he gets into the end zone again in a sneaky shootout game.
Some Extra Love:
Brandon Aiyuk is probably going to miss Trey Lance after spending most of the off-season training together. However, his involvement with Jimmy Garropolo under center, shouldn’t change much. Aiyuk is leading all 49ers in snaps played thus far this season. His 10 targets are also second on the team behind Deebo Samuel, though Aiyuk led everyone on the team in Week 2 with eight. He now heads to Denver to face a Broncos defense that includes Patrick Surtain II who is dealing with a shoulder injury. Another heavy dose of targets from Jimmy G during a Sunday Night showdown with the Broncos would be very encouraging.
Hate: Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints
Chris Olave is still getting his feet wet with NFL action. A crucial fumble late in Week 2 cost New Orleans the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Still, Olave, as a rookie, commanded 33% of the team’s targets in just his second game. His 13 targets led the team by far increasing his total number of targets to 16, just one behind Michael Thomas.
In Week 3, however, Olave and the Saints will take on division rival, the Carolina Panthers. They are one of just two teams (also, the Denver Broncos) who have not allowed a touchdown to a wide receiver this season. Olave sees a lot of work in the deep ball passing game evident by his nearly 350 air yards in Week 2. If the Panthers defense remains stingy, it could be a disappointing afternoon for those who plug Olave into their lineups. Alvin Kamara returning is only going to make matters worse.
Love: Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
The running joke in 2019 amongst fantasy football managers was to “start whichever tight end plays against the Arizona Cardinals defense.” Their defense back then allowed 13.1 points to the position, just shy of four points more, on average, than the next team.
Three seasons later, the 2022 Cardinals defense is picking up the trend where their 2019 defense left off. To be fair, it’s no easy task covering Travis Kelce and Darren Waller through the first two games of the season. As a result, the Cardinals are naturally allowing the most receptions, yards, touchdowns, and PPR points to tight ends.
I’m not comparing Tyler Higbee to Kelce or Waller. However, Higbee does have an established rapport with Matthew Stafford. His 20 targets are second to only Cooper Kupp on the Rams’ offense. Higbee’s role and matchup are easy to love this week. He is a must-start in all fantasy football formats.
Some Extra Love:
Kyle Pitts should be in your Week 3 starting lineup if you drafted him this season. Don’t overthink it. He’s second in targets amongst all Falcons. The criticism toward head coach Arthur Smith’s lack of involvement for Pitts is also on everyone’s radar. Pitts takes on a Seattle Seahawks defense that has allowed a touchdown to three different tight ends over two games. I love the bounce back spot for him. If the manager with Pitts in your league is frustrated, there may be a buy-low opportunity here in the trade market.
Hate: Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars
Let me start by saying I’m thoroughly impressed Evan Engram has caught 11 of his 12 targets this season. He’s known to have issues with drops. Engram’s 18.4 points rank 12th amongst all tight ends while his 9.2 average ranks 13th. That’s a matchup-based streamer through and through.
That said, I hate Engram’s matchup in Week 3 on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers. The improved Chargers defense is tough for anybody but caught my eye in Week 2 holding Travis Kelce to just five catches for 51 receiving yards. It’s a major difference from last year’s Chargers defense that allowed a league-high 11.5 points per game to tight ends.
With capable running backs, a mobile quarterback, and a variety of wide receiver options, it’s hard to imagine Engram carving out a significant role in this weekend’s matchup. If I’m utilizing the streaming tight end strategy so far this season, I’m looking for options other than Engram in Week 3.